Houston's Fine Art Fair 2015

Houston's Fine Art Fair 2015

When surveying a piece of visual art, do you know what exactly it is you’re looking for?

Assuming that you’re judging with what an expert might call “the untrained eye”, I suspect you’d go through the standard line of questioning that anyone else would. Do I like this? Does this interest me? Is this something I’d put on display in my home?

But have you ever taken in a painting, or a photograph or a sculpture and found yourself searching for deeper meaning? What does this represent? What is being said here?

Naturally, the answer to this question varies from person to person, and that’s largely the beauty of the process. If the primary function of the human brain is to make sense and give substance to the world around us, the observation of a creative work is that function stripped down to its most basic and primal form. Art serves to evoke emotion, so whether you’re browsing a collection in an art gallery, or simply scrolling down your Instagram timeline, chances are, at some point in your life, you’ll see something that moves you.

As I strolled around the preview of Houston Fine Arts Festival last week, I saw a lot of fascinating and thought-provoking pieces-----everything from large-scale oil paintings to sculptures meticulously crafted from Alaskan yellow cedar. And with almost every display I made eyes with, I made point to give pause and ponder: “What was the artist trying to do here? What does this mean?”

With due respect to the other artists, however, nothing I came across gave me more pause or consideration than Dan Tague’s exhibit, and in particular, his piece entitled Keep On Spending In The Free World, a high-resolution photograph of a message spelled out with nothing but folded bits of American currency.

houston fine art fair


At first glance, it takes a moment to even realize that there’s a message to be read. The jigsaw arrangement of cash is cool enough on its own its merit to catch one’s eye. But then, after a beat, the words begin to reveal themselves, like the gradual drawback of a stage curtain at the beginning of a recital. Those words----“keep on spending in the free world”----take on even greater resolve when you consider the process of using the dollar bills to express them is essentially an act of expense itself. But the inspiration for the work was even more costly.

houston fine art fair


“This [particular piece] was sparked by being on a rooftop for seven days during Katrina in mid-city New Orleans,” Tague explained. “I had a five-dollar bill and a one-dollar bill, and was just folding relentlessly, and found different messages.”

Indeed, the tragedy that is Hurricane Katrina, now a whole decade old, and the impact it had on not just the city of New Orleans, but an entire region, is still being felt to this very day; which makes it even more remarkable that a concept both so beautiful and so profound could be the direct result of it. “It seems pretty apropos of the way politics work,” Tague says of his message. “No matter what’s happening, the answer is to keep on spending in the free world.”

‘A universal and seemingly eternally-relevant idea articulately expressed in a creative format’ might be an incredibly verbose way to describe the essence of art, but it’s the best way to do so to me. The Houston Fine Arts Festival was an excellent measure in which to discover that. If you missed it this year, be sure to circle the date on your calendar next year.






One Of The Most Iconic Car Collections Comes To Houston
...read now
One Of The Most Iconic Car Collections Comes To Houston
Xan Duong
Feb. 05, 2016
Don't Miss The Next Aces Of Taste Dinner
...read now
Don't Miss The Next Aces Of Taste Dinner
Azmira Belay
Aug. 19, 2015
Meet the Founder and CEO of The Black Don't Crack Movement
...read now
Meet the Founder and CEO of The Black Don't Crack Movement
Azmira Bleay
Jun. 30, 2015




newsletter